Our 4 year old grazes all day, does anyone have ideas to help with routine of eating at meal times. We struggle at tea time, he picks at his tea, then is hungry later!


Posted by deborah_osborne, 21st April 2015


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  • Not meal ideas as such but ideas like getting them to help make meal or a pick plate ie like a platter of duffe different foods.



  • My eldest started out great, but not now. I do limit snacks. He will eat pasta and likes it warm with salad dressing. He has a mix of greek and balsamic. He also likes rice with soy sauce. My second will cry trying to get his own way with snacks but I still refuse. He tried small dinner and 4 deserts but I wasn’t going for it. Miss 3 likes frozen peas so their always great in her fruit salad dinner. My partner and I eat very spicy food so I make separate meals for the kids but luckily they like fruit and salad and salami and cheese and vegemite. I can make dozens of meals out of those.



  • puree or grate vegies into anything that you make



  • We have three boys and if they were allowed to then they would probably try to do the same thing. We have breakfast. lunch and dinner as main eating times and a small mid morning and mid afternoon snack. If they refuse to eat their dinner then it is strictly dinner or bed. We figure the child is not going to starve to death overnight and if they get hungry enough they will eventually learn to eat their dinner.

    What I was tired of was having to make separate food for us and the children all the time. Now I just make the one meal and if they refuse to eat it then they have to wait until breakfast for more food. The only times they get something different is if it is a meal not really suitable for them such as a curry. They really don’t like curry- no matter how mild it is but hubby loves curries. But we mainly eat the one meal now.

    Winning options in our family are homemade macaroni and cheese flavoured with a little mustard. You can add chopped veggies to this if you like.

    The boys like any pasta ad hate veggies- they pick them out so I puree pumpkin sometimes and use this as a sauce for pasta with cheese added to it.

    I try to include the boys in dinner prep as this makes them more likely to try something new.

    We like to make homemade pizzas too- either making dough or for a quicker version using pitta bread as a base.

    What I want to try soon is chicken soup where we all add our own veggies, cheese etc to our own bowls.

    I find I just keep trying with different veggies and different meals. The eldest is 7 now and he eats more and more new things each time.

    Our 4 year old eats more veggies than the 7 year old lol. I cut brocolli up small and call them trees. Also if you mash avocado and add it to either cream or a white sauce and put it with diced bacon as a green pasta sauce- the boys love that. Back when they watched Shrek all the time we called it Shrek pasta and they ate it all.

    Just try to incorporate themes, colours etc from things they like or names of things they like into the meal and don’t be afraid to try new things in the kitchen.



  • Thank you for your tips ,will try cutting shapes ,he does eat pasta .



  • I think the plate idea is cool



  • Don’t let them eat too close to dinner time so they’re feeling hungry. I find if my daughter has a snack within the two hours prior to dinner time she is a bit fussy with it and picks at it and doesn’t really want to eat much but if I give her a snack earlier and then hold her off afterwards until dinner time her fussiness can go away and she’s less picky and eats it properly.

    We give her things like curried (low curry) chicken or baby sausages because these are meals I can fit in at least 7 different vegetables and she won’t know that some of them are even there (not that she’s super fussy with her vegetables).
    Also spaghetti, she loves saying they’re wiggly worms (like peppa pig), there’s organic Thomas the Tank engine pasta available at Coles, that’s always a hit.

    Home made pizza can always be fun and it can be healthy, there’s lots of different crusts you can make (zucchini, cauliflower, quinoa flour etc). It’s something kids can help make and decorate their own pizzas. I find with my daughter, she’s more willing to eat things if she’s had a part in making them too.

    Sandwich & cookie cutters for making food fun.



  • What i do is use cookie cutters and cut the fruit or food into shapes and then my son is so distracted by the novelty of the shapes he eats the things. :)



  • I’m keen to get some food inspo ideas too….and something that doesn’t include potato and bread which is Miss 3’s staple diet at the moment. So incredibly frustrating!



  • I work for ‘Neat 2 Eat’ and we sell fun meal time accessories to make meal times fun for kids. Both my boys are fussy eaters and these products have helped us heaps. My daughter, thankfully loves all food so that’s awesome!
    Good luck



  • My son is going through a stage where he want eat his dinner either, but is always hungry before & after.
    I have found that he loves plan pasta, he doesn’t like it with sauce on it so I buy the different shapes pasta & sprinkl some grated cheese & he loves it. The trick is trying to find there favorite evening food.



  • Have you ever seen one of these plates, they encourage kids to eat their food then they get a treat at the end.


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